Have you started a diet only to lose motivation a few days or weeks in? Are you asking how to get it back? Or maybe to find it to start with?
I strongly believe that if you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen. I have said this to people in the past and honestly, most times, they get super defensive. It is a natural human reaction. Sometimes, they just label me a bitch and ignore me.
I realized that we use motivation differently for different scenarios but it really should not be all that different.
Think back to a time when you saved money to buy something you really wanted. A house, a car, or as simple as a pair of designer jeans or boots. Or maybe that handbag that costs as much as your rent for 3 months...or maybe just a new cell phone.
Think about when you decided you wanted that item. And how you would start saving. Maybe you kept the money in a shoebox on the top shelf of your laundry room. Or maybe you put it in the bank to collect interest. You made a plan, though. You decided HOW to save the money.
Now, this saving likely took weeks or months, or possibly years, right? Not many of us are in a position to just go buy whatever we want, when we want, with no thought at all about it. So you are saving, and every few days or weeks you put money in that box or that account. You keep a running tally of how much you have. How do you stay motivated to buy this item? Do you carry a picture of it on your phone or in your wallet and pull it out to look at every few days? Do you visit a website to look at it? Do you think about what it would be like to drive that new car or live in that new house? Maybe you picture yourself going out in those new boots for a nigh on the town with your girlfriends. But you find a way to stay motivated to purchase that item. Why is healthy eating/weight loss any different?
My theory is this: from a young age, we are bombarded with images and expectations that women need to be beautiful and skinny. It is in advertising, it is in the movies, it is everywhere. Maybe it was instilled in us by our mothers or aunts, sisters or even girls in school. Although no one in my life specifically told me this, it was society that did- that to be loved, to be successful in life, to find a husband or be respected by peers, you had to be skinny.
So with this mentality, when we diet or try to lose weight, or simply be healthy, every time we "mess up" there is a part of us that feels like a failure. We are losing that battle to be loved and respected. But are we?
Let's go back to first scenario- saving up for the purchase of something you really wanted. Let's say you were saving and saving and watching week over week that pile of money grow. Maybe it was just a little at a time. Maybe it was big amounts at a time. Then suddenly- your car breaks down. Or a tree crashes through your roof. Or the hot water tank explodes. And you are stuck with a sudden expense. Maybe now you need to pull some money out of your stash for that emergency. It's life- it happens.
Do you go back to saving, and simply accept the delay? Do you just give up altogether and decide not to buy those boots? Probably not. Maybe you think about ways to save money that you had not thought about. Maybe you take a gander at your budget and see where you be more efficient?
If it is that easy to stay motivated to buy something we want, why is it so hard to eat healthy to lose weight because that is what we want? That last minute dinner invite from your boss while you are dieting is the same as the tree through the roof (only much cheaper and easier to repair). It does not make you a failure. It might be a slight set back but it is not life threatening and should not deter you from reaching your endgame- weight loss. Go, enjoy and jump right back in the saddle afterwards. Maybe that will motivate you to check the online menus of places around town to see if they have anything compliant. Maybe it will motivate you to pack a crash stash of healthy things you can eat before you go out so you have less guilt later (in all honesty, you should have zero guilt but I know it will happen).
Keep your eye on the prize. Make a plan. Don't worry about the speed bumps. If you need help, ask for it. If you need ideas- they are out there.
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